Wide-eyed Horror
Jonothon Starsmore furnaceface
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Xavier Institute for Higher Learning to Fandom and Back Again, Saturday Fandom Time

The last few weeks had been utter chaos. It was starting to feel a bit like the status quo, actually, with things like Alpha Flight sweeping in and trying to take every child on campus away, trying to send them home. Bloody Canadians didn't seem to realize that most of those children didn't have a home to go back to, and a mutant becoming a ward of the state was an excellent way to ensure that they'd never be cared for. Was an excellent way to ensure worse.

But that chaos was nothing like this.

Jonothon was positive that he could hear a heartbeat drumming in his ears as he looked at it, at the scene set out before him, flanked by a handful of the other X-men.


Off to one side of him, he was vaguely aware of Jean saying something about how there weren't any heartbeats. No thoughts. That the mutant teens who had been nailed to those crosses were all dead.

Not far from her was Logan, snarling to get them down. Kurt saying something about how upset the police would be if they disturbed forensic evidence.

Scott agreeing with Logan. Bobby agreeing with Kurt. And then yelling. Scott yelling. Take them DOWN. Fuck Bobby and Kurt. Fuck the police. These people were family. They weren't going to just leave their bodies hanging on those... those...

And more chaos. Over there, Jean trying to contact the school nurse. Kurt still bitching about the police as he and Logan worked to let a student down from a cross. Logan telling him off now. When it comes to mutants, we are the police.

Well said.

Paige pointing out...



Logan running to help her. Can't focus for long. Too much chaos, too many minds working on too many things around him, trying to sweep him away at the knees. No no no no no no Lee.

Another familiar face. Angelo. Jono was almost oblivious to the madness, now. Oblivious to Logan screaming for a healer. For Xorn, for Worthington. For anyone. Almost. He and Paige took Angelo down. And while his friends... while his family were carried inside, draped over shoulders and lifted telekenetically and on stretchers with people panicking all the way to the infirmary, Jono's knees lasted about as far as the front step. And his fingers shook almost too much for him to make his message coherent as he pulled out his phone. Which was fine.

Need healers. Fast. Help.

He'd barely been aware that he was sending that message in the first place.

Karla didn't pause. As soon as she got Jono's text, she was on the move. If she'd gotten that text, so had Raven. And Raven was the fastest way to get anywhere. Grabbing her traveling pack and vanishing a few extra healing supplies, Karla dashed towards the stairs.

"Damn you, Bobby Drake!" she hissed as she flew up to the third floor. "This would have been so much easier if Warren still lived down the hall!"

Warren, with his healing blood. Then up to Raven's room.

*Warren! I need you!* she sent. *Raven, I'm coming!*

On our way.

Squall was already in motion, dialing Rinoa's number as he hurried to her room.

No response. And she wasn't there. Dammit. He wasted precious minutes standing in front of her door while he called again and left a message. Because... well, just because.

Okay, then. She'd have to catch up later. He got on the move again, this time dialing Karla's number and running back up the stairs to Raven's room.

Raven had given Jono his own special tone for text messages, so she grabbed her phone with a smile when she heard the notification. Her smile fled as she read the message. She almost teleported from her room immediately, but some non-panicking corner of her mind recognized the plural in healers.

I am coming, she typed back quickly. She grabbed her cloak and flung it around her shoulders as she got Karla's psychic call, then ran out into the hall to meet her.

Thank you.

Jono stared at his screen, numbly. There was blood on his hands. Angelo's blood. Jubilee's. His entire damn family was in there, in one way or another. The family that counted. The ones from here, anyhow.

Just you? Others? Texted Karla + Squall too.

He had no doubt that she could handle them all, but the more there were, the faster they could work...

Karla is coming. I will find Squall.

Fortunately he lived just down the hall from her, so she hoped he was in his room as she dashed the few necessary steps and pounded on his door.

Her hands were shaking as she sent another text. Are you all right? If he was texting her, he couldn't be too badly injured. She hoped.

Me? Yes. I'm not injured. There was... It's Angelo. And Lee. And others.

There were some moments where he wished that he was whole, just so that he could throw up. Right now, he could really, really use a good puke.

Crosses. On the lawn. Don't know if they'll make it.

"Thank Azar," Raven whispered, relieved by that much at least. But it didn't lessen her sense of urgency, or the way her stomach twisted as she read his words.

Karla, hurry! she sent, hoping the thought would reach her friend.

To Jono, she typed, I promise you I will do all I can. We will be there soon.

Thank you.

Jonothon sent that message, and then realized that he probably should... should at least say something else. Something helpful.

I'll be waiting at the front door.

Somewhere out of the way.

It was never good news when Karla sounded like that. Especially not directly in his head that way.

He peered out his door as she ran up the stairs, and then took off at a run after her.

"What's going on?"

"Text from Jono," she called backwards, over her shoulder. "Needs Healers. Fast. Running up to Raven. She'll get us there faster. All I know."

"Jono?" Warren's eyebrows furrowed a little, but he picked up the pace when Karla mentioned healers. He'd had more than enough time in Panem to get used to the idea of running when called, to being a medic on demand, responding first and worrying about what had happened later. "At Xavier's?"

He could hope. At least that would mean that he wouldn't have to waste time trying to hide claws that his sight shield wouldn't quite account for. Or hiding at all.

"I guess!"

They pounded up the stairs to the fifth floor, Karla nearly running down her friend in the hallway.

"Raven!" she said, skidding to a stop. "When do we go?"

"Now," Raven said, reaching for Karla's hand. "We only await Squall. Jono is not hurt. But his friends are in dire need."

She looked from Karla to Warren. "I think it will require all our skill to save them."

Karla's phone began ringing just then, and Squall bolted out of the stairwell a few moments later.

"Portalocity?" he greeted them, as he ran down the hall.

Raven had been just about to pound on Squall's door again but stopped with an exhalation of relief when she saw him coming from the stairwell. "No," she said. "There is no time for that. I will be must faster. Are we ready?"

She wasn't waiting long for an answer; her Soul-Self began to rise from her shoulders.

Squall nodded. "I couldn't find Rinoa." The second half of that sentence, "and I couldn't think of anyone else to grab who isn't already here", wasn't actually said out loud, but it was implied.

"Then... this is everyone?" Warren looked at Raven, took in the sight of that black bird shadow, and then nodded a little. "Let's go."

"We're ready," Karla confirmed, clutching her bag a little tighter. Her stomach wasn't all that fond of teleportation, but she was getting used to it. "Let's not make Jono wait any longer. We might not have that kind of time."

"We do not," Raven agreed as her Soul-Self swept around herself and friends, drawing them inside her to the netherverse. A burst of black smoke filled the hallway where they'd been standing, and when it vanished a second later, they were gone.

The second they were all ready to go, Raven summoned up her Soul-Self to teleport them to Jono's world. It was an easy trip as she'd been there before, and as soon as she, Karla, Warren, and Squall appeared outside the mansion and the black smoke that accompanied her teleporting had vanished, she was running toward Jono, arms outstretched.

"What happened? Where are they?"

//We took them... inside...// Jono's focus wasn't exactly at its best. His speech was suffering for it. But that wasn't about to stop him from pulling himself to his feet and stepping forward to wrap his arms around her. //Somebody attacked. While we were out... I don't know... what. Who. We got here and it was crosses and then yelling, faces we knew...//

He clung to her for a moment more, and then looked up and nodded to the door, trying to pull his composure back together.

//There's an infirmary. No doctors, though. Just our nurse, and Warren.//

"Well, you've got us here now," Karla said, already looking towards where she could feel the spikes of pain and fear. "Crosses? Why would there be crosses? Like at Christmas?"

Oh, Karla was going to get a very quick and ugly lesson in human brutality.

"Easter," Warren corrected softly. He didn't like where this conversation was headed. Not one bit. "They were crucified. Weren't they?"

Jonothon's silence was answer enough to that.

Warren shuddered.

"Oh, Azar," Raven said, clinging to Jono and sending him a wave of love to try to chase away some of the horror of what he must have seen. She wanted to do more for him, but she also knew it had to wait; even now she could feel the pain coming from inside the building, pain and the fear and anger of those who tended the injured.

"Take us to them," she said. "We will help."

"Crucified?" Squall asked. Not that he didn't know what the word meant, but the symbolism of it was lost on him.

(Why would they...?)

"...Not important," he decided. "How many? Take us there."

//A... handful,// Jono replied, squinting. He hadn't actually had the opportunity to count, hadn't thought to count. //A dozen? More? More than we can handle here without help.//

He pushed the door open, stepping inside and not waiting to see if anyone else was keeping pace as he headed toward the infirmary.

//We have no doctors. Could only find one of our healers, and a nurse.//

After watching the movie with Ben and Ender, Karla had looked up crucifixion on the computer. It had been an unpleasant read, but at least she was prepared for the kind of injuries they would find.

Thank the Darkness for small favors. Very small.

"Well, you called the best Fandom has to offer," she said, unconcerned whether that was actually true. Jono needed a bit of comfort himself, and right now, all they could spare was words as they sped along to the infirmary.

The infirmary. Bunch of hospital beds. Bunch of medical equipment. Dying mutants. Chaos. Always the chaos. People were still yelling, Scott giving Kurt a dressing-down over lord-only-knew-what. Warren already hooked up to the medical equipment that would start pumping his healing blood directly into the dying. Dead? They all looked so far gone.

The infirmary was chaos. And that's what Jonothon was leading Fandom's healers straight into, now.

Before stepping inside, Karla pulled on her mask of Healer reserve and took a deep breath. She was glad that she did, as she walked into the infirmary and looked around.

Okay. First of all, enough of that.

"SHUT UP!" she snapped, marching over to the yelling male in a...visor? "If you are going to yell, you can bloody go somewhere else! This is a sick room and anger has no place in it! Now shut the Hell up so that the rest of us being useful can actually get on with the process of saving lives."

She glared at both of them, blinking once as she recognized a much older version of her friend. Greetings could wait, however.

"Have I made myself clear?"

There was a moment of complete silence in the room while all and sundry stopped what they were doing to stare at the snappish stranger who had just stormed in. But only a moment, before the gravity of the situation settled on everyone's shoulders again and most of them resumed what they were doing.

Scott, meanwhile, levelled the girl with a look, unreadable behind the red visage of his visor, before looking back to Kurt and speaking in low, dangerous tones.

"Being a leader isn't about being a friend, or being liked. It's about making the right decisions no matter how tough they are, or how unpopular they make you." And, in case anybody was worried that he couldn't sound more angry, his voice dropped even lower. "So, get your team to the conference room. And do it now."

Scott was silent for a moment more while Kurt murmured under his breath and moved to do just that. And then he shook his head, and finally addressed the girl who had presumed to give him an order.

"And you are?"

Make it good, Karla. Scott's patience was at a minimum, just then.

Karla wasn't in the mood to be intimidated, dangerous tones or no. Visor-Boy could give her a big dressing down later if he wanted. "A Healer," she hissed, already turning away to find a patient.

That's right, Scott. You were being dismissed.

"A damn good one. Come to help make sure you don't lose anyone. So you can go shove your anger and your fear and your hurt pride somewhere else because I have a job to do. One that involves making sure that all your people survive to see tomorrow."

Not that Karla could see, but Scott was absolutely narrowing his eyes at her, raising a hand to reach out and grab her, and finding himself cut short as another hand grabbed his wrist.

His eyebrow twitched upwards as he looked at Jono, who just gave his head a shake.

"... Carry on, then."

He'd worry about who these people were later. Right now, beggars couldn't afford to be choosers.

It was possible that Jono had grabbed Scott's wrist just as much for his benefit as Karla's. Him grabbing Karla would have gotten real ugly real fast.

As it was, Scott was now the furthest thing on Karla's mind. He wasn't injured, he'd stopped yelling, and he wasn't presenting himself as an enemy. Therefore he was relegated to 'unimportant.' And in an infirmary like this? Unimportant came behind a whoooole lot of other things.

Spotting a face she vaguely recognized from Parents' Weekend, Karla darted over to a young, dark-haired female. Lee. Jono's friend. Presumably they all were, but this girl had been close to Jono for years. They weren't going to let anyone die today, but this girl was at the top of the list of people to save.

The girl was also dead to the world for the most part. And had a very growly, very hairy, and very smelly man standing guard over her.

It was an X-Men thing.

Karla barely spared him a look--and wished she could be spared the smell--as she settled next to Lee's bed. She called in a wooden frame with a Healing web already spun inside of it; she'd taken to keeping a few handy, for situations just like this.

Three drops of blood from Karla's palm started the magic and the web began to glow with a soft blue light.

"Time to see how badly off you are," she murmured to the unconscious female.

You mean 'in a coma' didn't cover enough ground for injured? Damn. She didn't even get an excuse to not do work after this if she didn't at least end up being forgotten by the writers in some sort of lingering vegetative state.

Jubilee did very little to help her figure out the injuries accumulated from before the, ah, crucifixion. Wolverine, on the other hand, was every so helpful with a growled, "What the hell is that?"

"Healing web," Karla said shortly, most of her attention taken up with examining the extend of Lee's injuries. "Healing her is going to take a lot of Craft. Rather than subjecting her already weakened body to the brunt of that much energy, the web will let it trickle in and'll keep her stable until it's done."

She cracked an eyelid to look at the short, hairy male. "Close to her?"

He grunted instead, arms crossed over his chest like that answered everything. Expository dialogue was reserved for when they had a splash page of all the X-Men, after all.

But he didn't move away. Or stop looking suspicious at Karla.

If he wasn't going to answer, then Karla was just going to go back to concentrating on Jubilee. Dehydration, exhaustion, comatose...it wasn't like she was lacking in things to focus on. So long as he didn't interfere with anything she was doing, he could sit and glare and breathe heavily or whatever.

Humming now, Karla directed the Healing Craft from the web into Lee's body, focusing on the most dangerous of her injuries. It was painstaking work, trying to repair all the damage while balancing how much energy to pour into Jubilee's already traumatized system.

"Hey, neat godseye," Jubilee muttered, eyes fluttering open in that perfect cliche fashion.

"I don't know what that is," Karla murmured absently. "Please hold still. You're still in need of a lot of Healing."

The work she was doing was invisible, but still very hard. Sweat was beading on her brow and dripping into her eyes, stinging.

"Can you tell me what still hurts?" Karla could see the injuries with Craft, but keeping the girl conscious and coherent was a big plus. "And maybe tell your friend that I'm helping, so he stops glaring at me?"

"Can we go with everywhere and call it a day?" Jubilee asked, wincing as she turned her head to look over at Wolverine. "He's not glaring. That's just his face."

It got what could have been a bark of laughter out of the man at least.

"By the time this web crumbles to ash, you'll stop feeling like shit, I promise," Karla said. "Though you probably won't be up for any marathons, so keep things slow and easy. You thirsty?"

She didn't even wait for an answer. She'd been dehydrated to the point of coma, for Darkness's sake.

"Could you get her some water?" she asked.

Wolverine shot her a look that implied Karla was possibly insane if she thought he was leaving Jubilee's bedside at the moment. "Slim's not takin' your orders, what makes you think I will?"

Jubilee made a noise, trying to head off a fight before it could start. "See who else needs help. 'm good."

"I'm not asking for me, I'm asking for her," Karla said, not even trying to figure out who 'Slim' was. "I mean, I could stop Healing her to go get her some water, but I was under the impression we liked her conscious and coherent. But I'm sure your hovering is very helpful, too, what with it accomplishing absolutely nothing and all."

Yeah, this wasn't going well at all.

Wolverine growled, moving between Jubilee and Karla forcible. His hands curled into fists before a distinct 'SNIKT' sound could be heard and there were suddenly blades coming out of his knuckles.

"Whoa, whoa!" Jubilee said, grabbing his arm. "Anyone listening to me here?"

... 'Snikt?'

What in the world was a sni-- Oh holy mother of--

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!"

That flash of feathers there would be Warren (of the mini persuasion) making a flying leap across the room to put himself between Karla and... the short, smelly guy with the claws.

See, now Logan was going to have to go through Warren to get to her!

... Not that there was much of Warren to go through, in comparison to the one that Wolverine was probably used to, but if he spread his wings and prickled his feathers and held up his hands, at least it might take a bit of doing to get through him? Hopefully?

"No impaling my girlfriend!"



Karla's shields had slammed up with a flare of bright blue light and now they extended forward to cover Warren, too.

"Attacking the Healer who's trying to heal your friend," Karla snapped. "That's just brilliant, good show!"

Someone might want to work on her bedside manner. Just a thought.

"You are so lucky that the web can sustain the Healing energies for a few minutes when I'm not! Otherwise, I don't want to think of what might have just happened!"

And, eventually, Karla would get around to being pissy that Logan had threatened her. Right now, though, she was just pissy that Logan had interfered with her Healing.

The growling turned into snarling in short order, despite Jubilee tugging on his arm. "Move along, blondie!" Jubilee said from behind him. "Seriously, not a fight you want!"

Warren's feathers prickled a little more. More than a little more.

"Karla, this is not the place."

He looked over his shoulder at her, eyebrows furrowed.

"It's one thing with the Queen of Arceria in her den. With the pointy guy in the middle of a sickroom, we don't go encouraging this."

He loved you, Karla, but now was seriously a bad time.

"You're not fully Healed yet," Karla said, refusing to budge and speaking directly at Jubilee. "And if you want to be able to get up and out of that bed by this evening, then I have to keep Healing you. Stopping a Healing web in mid-Heal is not only stupid it can be downright dangerous, especially when it's involved in a full-body, systemic Heal."

As Jubilee's was, obviously. Crucifixion was a nasty, nasty thing to do to someone.

"So until you're Healed, I am not going anywhere. And if--" Karla darted a glance as Warren and visibly swallowed down a few choice comments, "--anyone wants to interfere with that, then I am going to fight back, because they're endangering a patient. I can be throttled later, but you need to be Healed first."

"You're not helping, blondie," Jubilee snapped, biting back the urge to puke all over the place. "Logan, please. Please."

"Karla," Warren hissed, right about the same time as he turned around and made a reach for her hands. "Just stop talking. I'll go and get the water, okay?"

SAVAGE LITTLE HAIRY MIDGET WITH CLAWS, KARLA. What part of that suggested that it would be a good idea to provoke the smelly mountain man?!

The part where he was directly impeding her Healing a patient, maybe?!

Karla gave a slight hmph, but didn't reply, turning deliberately to the Healing web that was still glowing over Jubilee's bed. She would keep quiet, but so help her, if that little smelly male so much as breathed on her wrong, she was going to blast him into a wall.

And then keep him there.

"Finally," Jubilee muttered, closing her eyes and settling back on the bed once the claws went away.

Wolverine? Pulled a cigar out of his pocket to chew on while he kept an eye on the witch.

"I'll be back in a couple of minutes with that water," Warren murmured, not quite folding his wings back yet, but at least letting himself breathe again. "Try not to kill one another before I do."

If he had to sit here and babysit, he would.

Oh, because that was a helpful comment, Warren. Karla thought about pointing that out, but that would just lead to her getting blamed for starting something again--and she was personally blaming Stinky Claws for this, thanks much--and resolutely kept quiet.

Besides, the last thing Jubilee needed was to continue to exert herself keeping Stinky at bay. That, more than anything, convinced her to bite back a comment.

But someone would be hearing about this later.

"After this is done, you're going to need to sleep for awhile," Karla told her. "You'll be able to go back to your own room if you don't want to stay here. But the web is drawing on your own energies as well, and it's not like you had much to spare. But after a good night's rest and several hearty meals and you'll be fine."

Squall found a clear spot on a table and started emptying his pockets, pulling out as many Hi-Potions and X-Potions as he could find. "HEY!" he shouted, trying to get the attention of someone, anyone, in all this confusion. "MEDICINE!"

The woman who did end up giving Squall her attention seemed to be the only one in the room remotely qualified to be taking that medicine from him, at least.

Annie's first reaction, however, was to put a stern finger to her lips as she set down the equipment she was fiddling with and stepped over to inspect the bottles that were being set on the table.

"That doesn't look like any medicine I know of," she stated, bluntly. "And even if it was, you could probably let me know as much without yelling."

Not that it was stopping anyone else in the room, granted.

"That's because it's not," Squall told her. "It's probably better than what you have. I'm from another dimension."

Everything he knew about Jono's world suggested that she shouldn't have any trouble believing him... right? He wasn't going to apologize for yelling, though -- it had gotten her attention, hadn't it?

"We call them Potions. Drinking a full vial should heal most minor injuries and help with anything worse."

Annie didn't seem entirely convinced. She was just the human nurse, surrounded by a small army of mutants, a few of whom didn't seem terribly thrilled with her, on the grounds that she wasn't a mutant, too.

He'd come in with that kid without the mouth, right?

She looked between Squall's potions, the wounded, all of them in such a bad way that they were wearing oxygen masks just to be able to breathe, and then, thoughtfully, at Warren. The older one, that she'd been taking blood from a moment before.

"Can they be taken intravenously?"

She didn't particularly want to take away the oxygen in the hopes that she could get a bunch of unconscious teenagers to swallow.

Squall shrugged. "It's not as effective, but it'll help," he answered. "And if you need more, I can refine more."

And that was really all the instruction she needed, so Squall just turned and walked away towards the patients. Pleasantries could wait until after the emergency -- he had Curagas to cast.

Raven wasn't as loud as Karla and Squall; she was focused on using her empathy to deduce who was in sorest need of her attention. They all were, and she had to shunt aside the sheer horror she felt at their injuries and how they came to be, but one person's pain called out to her as the most urgent - Angelo.

She darted through the chaos, hoping that Jono's teammates would recognize her and not get in her way. She knew she didn't have any time to waste.

Very little time indeed. Angelo had not gone quietly when the Church of Humanity had gotten their hands on him, and he had already been more than half-dead when they nailed him up on the cross.

Raven recognized Angelo from Jono's graduation. She already hated Jono's world for how it treated mutants, and now with the evidence right before her, her anger was even more inflamed. But she couldn't afford even a tiny loss of control, and she bit back that rage to put all her focus on healing.

Her Soul-Self, glowing with power, rose from her shoulders and hovered around them as she bent over Angelo's body and touched her hands to his face and took stock of his injuries. "Azar, help me," she whispered, bracing herself for the pain as she reached out with her gifts to pull his wounds into herself.

Angelo's body jerked as his vital-signs monitor started sounding a shrill alarm. Internal bleeding and organ damage, drastic blood loss, broken ribs and punctured lung, concussion and broken bones; Angelo was still fighting, but his shields and training from Generation X saw Raven's touch of power as one more intruder and fought back accordingly.

While his will was strong, his body had no reserves left and nothing to give, and everything was going into failure.

"I am a friend, please, allow me to help you," Raven said, surprised by the resistance. "Do not be afraid."

She could tell by how rapidly his body was failing that she had very little time to try to coax him into trusting her and stopping his fight. She looked over her shoulder, seeking out Jono. "Help me, please," she said urgently. "He does not know my touch or recognize me as a friend. And he does not have much time."

Jono had been about to go to the meeting that Scott had called, if only because he was feeling more and more like he was in the way in this place, until the alarms from Angelo's monitor had sounded. And then he'd managed to stand there, staring in horror, and that was about it.

But when Raven turned to him, asking for his help, it was like kicking him into high gear. Angelo was fighting. Angelo.

//Bloody hell, Ange, stop it!// A low, creeping, quiet... yell, by Jonothon's psionic standards. Commanding, but careful. If he managed to hurt Angelo worse, he'd never forgive himself. //Raven's a friend, Angelo. She's trying to heal you.//

So help him, Angelo, don't make him come in there!

If Jono had been having the type of day that Angelo was, he'd be a weetiny bit paranoid about strangers too, okay?

But Angelo's fighting against Raven lessened a bit, whether it was because of Jono's words or his own failing vitals dragging him down was unclear.

"Trust me," Raven said softly, letting her power rush into the opening he'd given her to soothe his fears and wrap him in a cocoon of warmth and comfort. "I am here to help you."

Then she turned her attention to his injuries. The shriek of the alarm and the fury of emotions around her made it difficult to sink into a healing trance; she shielded herself from it all as best she could while still keeping herself open to Angelo. Starting with his core, she healed his internal organs and stopped the bleeding, her breath catching as her own lung collapsed and re-inflated.

"Feel my life become your life," she murmured. "My strength is your strength."

Angelo Espinosa wasn't afraid of anything, dammit. Not the Church of Humanity, not Sentinels, and not even his crazy ex-girlfriend. Maybe afraid for Lee on occasion, because that chica was loca, but he wasn't scared of anything.

Hell, half the time he picked fights just to be contrary.

The sirens, at least, should not be grating as badly on Raven's attention, as the one for his breathing fell silent, his oxygen mask misting slightly as he began breathing on his own again.

Raven whimpered, tears trickling down her cheeks as she drew more and more of his injuries into herself. It wasn't just the pain of her own ribs snapping and mending, it was the thought of how people could have been so cruel as to do this to the young mutant lying before her. Her father's cruelty was easier to conceive -- he was a demon. But the ones responsible for this were humans.

She shuddered as her power moved through Angelo, stopping the bleeding, easing his concussion, mending the broken bones. The stab of pain from the punctures the spikes had made in his hands and feet made her cry out again, but the wounds quickly disappeared as she banished the pain.

Jono was being waved at, now. Kurt had been told off by Scott once already, and a member of his team straggling behind was just going to get him in trouble again when there was a meeting in the conference room to attend.

Kurt could go round up Paige or something, instead. There were two Generation X-ers in here, and Jonothon's girlfriend was currently in pain trying to heal one of them.

//I'll catch up,// he murmured to Kurt, stepping up to Raven and reaching to put a careful hand on her shoulder, pushing a bit of his strength, a bit of comfort her way. //This is important, too.//

The dying people could wait a few more minutes. Squall stepped protectively between Jono and Kurt and glared at the blue man. "You need something?" he asked in a threatening tone.

Oh, Squall.

"Was?" This was apparently not Kurt's day. The children on the crosses, Scott yelling at him, and now this? "Actually, yes. There's a meeting in the conference room that I'm going to need to borrow Jonothon for."

Would somebody tell him again why he had to be the one doing this?

"Jono's busy," Squall pointed out flatly. "Have the meeting without him."

Two of Jono's best friends were dying, and Raven was starting to look pretty bad, too. Squall was working on the whole "empathy" thing, and if he were in Jono's place, he wouldn't want to leave the infirmary.

Kurt glanced Warren's way, looking for a bit of backup, and he frowned. It looked like his chosen partner-in-leadership was a bit indisposed at the moment, donating blood and trying not to pay too much attention to Paige as she waved her chest in his face. Which meant that he was going to have to make one of those executive decision things.

"... I'll come back for him."

That counted, right?

"In a while."

Raven remained mostly oblivious to what was going on behind her. Almost her entire focus was on healing Angelo, though she was aware of Jono's comforting presence beside her. The damage mended, the pain slowly faded, and she began to feel almost euphoric as she expelled it from her own body.

"He will be all right," she said, swaying slightly as she straightened up. "He will need to rest, but he will be all right."

Noise. There was a lot of noise around him, and things started swimming into focus. Which was unfortunate, because right now focus sucked.

"Fuck, man, anyone get the plate on that truck?" he managed, wincing at how much speaking hurt. "Ow."

//Bloody hell.//

Excuse Jono for just a moment. He was going to... well, not exactly latch on to Angelo, both because he was aware of the guy's injuries and because he was going to have to bowl Raven over in order to do so.

//I swear to god Angelo, if you ever scare me like that again...//

Jono's happy you dodged that bullet, Ange. This is how he shows his love.

"Fuck you man," Ange rasped, covering his eyes from the bright medbay lights. "I'm the one who gets to be cranky, since I'm in the bed."

"...where am I in a bed?"

//Xavier's,// Jono replied. //Yer not the only one, either.//

The room was far too full of mutants their age, sprawled out on the beds and waiting for their own respective healer-shaped miracles.

//Raven healed you.//

Jono gave her shoulder an affectionate squeeze. He could kiss them both right about now, except that now was a bad time for it. And also, he really couldn't.

Yeah well, PDA wasn't Angelo's style.

"Man, what does it take to get away from the X people? Dropping out of school wasn't enough?" he joked faintly. "Just my luck."

"...wait, where's Lee?" And there he was, trying to sit up and look around for his partner-in-crime. "I was - I remember-"

Fuck. "JUBES!"

"Karla is tending to her," Raven quickly assured him, moving to try to gently push him back down on the bed. "Please, you must rest. I have healed your injuries, but you still need to regain your strength. Your friend will be all right; we will see to it, I promise."

She stood back up, taking a step back to lean against Jono. There were others that needed her -- she just needed a moment to recover.

//She's in th'best hands,// Jono agreed, looking worriedly in Jubilee's direction all the same as he wrapped an arm around Raven. //Karla's tending to her. And Logan is...//

Hovering? Snarling? Smelly? Canadian?

//... Logan. So she's safe, too.//

"Yeah, like anything involving Logan is ever safe," Angelo retorted, but he didn't try to get up again. Yet.

"So who do I owe an ass-kicking, amigo?" he asked, looking around. "An' how many of us are there?"

Jono shook his head a little.

//Scott's called a meeting for both main teams to discuss just who might be at th'root of this,// he stated. //There were about a dozen of you out there. So far, yer the first one to wake up.//

Take that, fate.

"I'm a tough bastard to kill," Angelo preened. "Mama Espinosa didn't raise no wimps."

"I survived datin' Torres, anyway. Take more than a few nutsos to take me out."

Raven opted not to tell Angelo just how close to death he'd been. She liked the feel of his pride, after all.

But there were several others still in need of healing. "I must aid your friends," she said, giving Angelo a tired smile. "Please do not try to get up yet. As I said, you must rest for a time."

She drew away from Jono, ready to get back to work. "Make certain he rests, please?" she asked, sending him a quick kiss.

If pressed, Angelo would crack a joke about knowing death all his life, and then make a ham-handed show of attempting to flirt with Raven - or the nearest inappropriate female - until everyone had forgotten about what the original topic was. He knew how far he'd gone; being here was a good clue. But God had not called him today.

"So, 'migo," he drawled, waiting until Raven walked away. "Who's a guy gotta bribe for a smoke around here?"

//Probably somebody who smokes,// Jono replied, raising an eyebrow pointedly. //And you won't be smoking it in here if you happen to get yer hands on one, mate.//

A beat.

//When Logan stops looking so homicidal over there, he'd probably be yer best bet. If you don't mind cigars. Or body hair.//

"Mama didn't raise no fools, either," Angelo retorted. "Logan's more likely to kick my ass for not protecting Jubes instead of givin' me a cigar."

Angelo would be staying over here. Away from the scary smelly mountain-man.

//... True.// And Jonothon was not aiming to get Angelo killed, here. Not really. //I'll ask around once yer feeling up to moving around again.//

Or, rather, once the resident healers were willing to let Angelo do complicated things like stand up.

[Warning for descriptions of torture/attempted murder/squicky religious stuff/one of the worst X-Men plotlines ever. Part one of.. several, ganked and adapted from Uncanny X-Men 423, which NEEDED TO BE FIXED, DAMMIT. Preplayed with mouthy_merc and icecoldfrost, who rocked the NPCing with Jubilee, Logan, and Angelo, and trigons_child, whateverknight, and glacial_witch, the last two rocking all the more for coding this and editing it respectively. NFB, NFI, OOC is awesome.]